After a year of learning a new system and playing a different position, Tasheed Carr enters the 2008-09 season with the hope of taking his game to the next level. Carr played shooting guard his fist couple years at Iowa State before Phil Martelli transformed him into a point guard upon his arrival at St. Josephs. The transition was difficult at times, but Carr certainly showed his potential to be a force in the Atlantic 10 conference. With his athleticism and defensive capabilities, it will be interesting to see the difference a year makes.
Carr brings an attitude and personality that has been missing from the Hawks squad for quite some time. Hes very outspoken and the unquestionable vocal and emotional leader of the team. He actually has the words, Born Leader tattooed on his wrists, and his teammates will be the first to attest to that. In fact during the full season that he sat out because he was a transfer, he was named co-captain of the team which says a lot about his character and the immediate impact he made.
Carr is also an exceptional athlete and shows off this athleticism on both ends of the court. On the offensive end, he is very good at pushing the ball down the court and leading fast breaks. With good size for a point guard at 6-4 and 211 lbs, he can pretty much get in the lane at will and uses his upper body strength to get tough shots off in traffic or kick the ball out to shooters.
In the half court, its a different story as hes been inconsistent and is too indecisive for someone trying to run an offense. Hes still adjusting to playing his new position, as hes more of a natural combo guard as opposed to being a pure point guard. He has a tendency to either over dribble or pick up his dribble too early, which is common during this positional transition. He turned the ball over on more than 1/4th of his possessions last season, which is an extremely high rate. After playing for a year, however, the mistakes that were tolerated last year will not be this season and he will be expected to be more fluid with the ball in his hands.
One aspect of his point guard skills that were impressive was his vision. He sees the court well and thats evident by his 5.6 assists a game, which was good for 2nd in the conference (32nd in the nation). He also had a 2 to 1 assist/turnover ratio, which is solid for a new point guard.
If Carr is ever going to be a serious draft prospect, he will need to improve his shot. He has a nice midrange game and can get his shot off with relative ease, as he has great elevation. His three point shooting however needs work. He only makes about one a game on three attempts (34.1%) and missed many wide open threes last season. He must become a more consistent outside shooter which will surely open up the rest of his game. He also needs to become a better free throw shooter (only 67.8%) as he has the ability to get to the charity stripe whenever he wants. Currently hes getting there about 3 times a game, which is a fairly average rate, and if he can increase his free throw productivity his stock will increase as well.
His strongest is probably his prowess on the defensive end. He has good lateral quickness and can be a nightmare for opposing guards with his long wingspan. He has a lot of energy on this side of the ball as his relentlessness is tough to contend with for 40 minutes. He is also very physical and benefits greatly from officiating crews who let things go. That physicality can back fire for Carr however, as he was whistled for a few fouls on jump shooters last season a cardinal sin for any defender. He can show a little bit more discipline, but overall he is outstanding on this end. He also averages 1.6 steals a game, which was 6th in the conference.
Coach Martelli and the Hawk faithful will be looking for Carrs offensive game to come together this season. If he can become more comfortable at the point and expand his range, he will definitely cause havoc in the A10. His defensive and leadership qualities are his strong attributes and will help St. Joes make a run for another tournament bid.